Celebrate Family

Tomorrow is one of the biggest nationwide celebrations for Americans, barring an improbable Super Bowl win by the Cleveland Browns. We celebrate the birth of our nation with fireworks, parades, and picnics all while immigrants families are struggling to find each other after being separated and detained in immigration centers after crossing into the “land of the free”.

There is a lot of misinformation swirling out there on the web that muddies the conversations that are happening about this polarizing issue, but thankfully The Washington Post has complied an article to address the he said/she said going on and you can read it here. What I find most troubling is this:

Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses. This includes illegal-entry misdemeanors, which are being prosecuted at a rate not seen in previous administrations. Because the act of crossing itself is now being treated as an offense worthy of prosecution, any family that enters the United States illegally is likely to end up separated. Nielsen may choose not to call this a “family separation policy,” but that’s precisely the effect it has. {emphasis added}[1]

Thankfully, there has been a preliminary injunction ordering families that have been separated be reunited, but there’s major work to be done because this decision by the government “has led to more than 2,300 children being separated from their parents or other family members.” [2]

The children who have been forcibly separated from their parents seem to struggle with the situation they find themselves in. Instead of navigating the different world of a new country with their parents there to guide them and help them not be scared by the newness of everything; they’re instead struggling to sometimes even make themselves heard and known to those around them, due to a language barrier among other things while other children just shut down completely.

When reading up on this situation and story before sharing my thoughts, I was struck by the images brought to mind by the authors writing regarding the children and their trust in their parents as they all trek north for a better chance at life.

The children clung to their parents through the terrifying journey north. They rode flimsy rafts across the rain-swollen Rio Grande. They hiked sun-bleached paths under the broiling sun. They were transported in “trucks, on top of railroad trains, in buses,” and on foot, said Gary Jones, chief executive of Youth for Tomorrow.

They crossed the border and were picked up by federal agents and placed in cavernous holding centers. In many cases, that’s where the separation happened. Parents were put in one cell, children in another.

At Customs and Border Protection stations, such as the massive Central Processing Center on Ursula Avenue in McAllen, Tex., some families were divided immediately, especially fathers and daughters, because girls can’t be detained with men. Children were often sorted by country, gender and age, to keep older and younger ones apart.

For some, the separation did not come until the morning they were brought to court on big silver buses. Border officials told parents they’d see their children when they got back from court.

But when they returned, their children were gone, taken to federal shelters. Some parents were told that their children were being taken for a bath, but then the kids did not come back.

At a shelter in McAllen, as word spread that children were being pulled from their parents, some mothers and ­fathers took to sleeping with their legs wrapped around their children so they couldn’t be snatched.

Sometimes, it fell to lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project to break the news, said Efrén Olivares, a lawyer with the organization, which has interviewed 381 immigrant parents who were separated from more than 400 children. {emphasis added}[3]

Imagine this scenario happening to your children and yourself. How scared would your children be to not have you nearby to comfort them, to make sure they understand that this scary scenario in a new country is worth it for the freedom and safety this new country can offer? As well as with a language they may not understand being spoken all around them?

Children need their parents. Parents are supposed to be a safety net for their children, so the children know they can trek out of the family bubble, but return for comfort, nourishment and guidance. These separations have literally popped thousands of family bubbles and potentially damaged a large number of a future generation because their parents dared to dream that they could gain a slice of that American Dream that’s been touted as the end all goal for all Americans.

So while you celebrate tomorrow with fireworks, friends and family, keep in mind that there are those who are struggling to regain their families freedom after making the dangerous journey towards the “land of the free”.

If you want to help those families who have been separated, here are some resources:

Daughter of the Most High God. Well cared for and appreciated wife of an amazing man. Female, Christian, mother of an adorable & imaginative son, sweet & feisty daughter and a furry house pony, type 1 diabetic, slightly geeky, married to a most wonderful man who treats me like a queen, youngest of three, created in the 80's, lover of Christ; history and languages, animal lover, outspoken, caring and just down right cool. ;-)

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